Merle Shetland Sheepdog – Profile | Health | Color | Grooming

merle shetland sheepdog

Merle Shetland Sheepdog is an undeniably lovely color specimen of the Shetland Sheepdog breed, but when they’re the product of breeding two dogs with the merle gene, the puppies will be susceptible to listening to and imaginative and prescient problems.

In this blog, I am going to talk about Merle Shetland Sheepdog.

The merle issue will be troublesome to find out, besides by skilled breeders with data and understanding of the road’s pedigree.

Merle Shetland Sheepdog Height and weight

Shelties usually weigh round 5–11 kilograms (11–24 lb). Usually, males are taller and heavier than females. Accepted top ranges could differ relying on nation and customary used.

Within the US and Canada, breed requirements state that women and men will be between 33–41 centimeters (13–16 in), all different requirements (Australia, New Zealand, and the UK) specify males: 37 ± 2.5 cm (14 1⁄2 ± 1 in), females: 35.5 ± 2.5 cm (14 ± 1 in) besides FCI which specifies females: 36 ± 2.5 cm (14 1⁄4 ± 1 in) on the shoulder (withers), nevertheless, some shelties will be discovered exterior of those ranges however should not thought-about actually consultant of the breed.

The variation will be discovered inside litters, and top (within the vary of 40–50 cm or 16–20 in) is above the breed customary in some strains.


To evolve to the breed requirements, the Shelties’ ears ought to bend barely or “tip”, this contributes to the “correct Sheltie expression”.

The ear is to have the highest third to 1 / 4 of the ear-tipped. If sues shelties’ ears should not be bent (known as prick ears) some house owners brace them into the proper place for a number of weeks to a number of months.

Huge-set (an excessive amount of distance between) ears are additionally not a desired trait, nor are ears which tip too low down (known as ‘hound’ ears).

Merle Shetland Sheepdog Grooming

Shelties have a double coat, and infrequently shed quite a lot of the time, irrespective of the season.

The topcoat consists of lengthy, straight, water-repellent hair, which gives safety from chilly and the weather.

The undercoat of the sues shelties is brief, furry, and really dense and helps to maintain the canine heat.

Mats will be generally discovered behind the ears, underneath the elbow on every entrance leg, and within the fluffy fur on the hind legs (the “skirts”), in addition to across the collar (if worn). The coat is often shed twice a 12 months, usually in spring and autumn.

Females can even shed proper earlier than or proper after giving delivery.

Male shelties technically shed lower than females however fur nonetheless comes off always.

Shaving these dogs may be very unhealthy for his or her pores and skin and a few don’t regrow any vital quantity of hair after being shaved, a situation often known as alopecia.

Spaying or neutering can alter coat texture, making it softer, extra susceptible to matting and much more profuse.

Shelties shed in clumps that will be pulled or brushed out of the primary coat, quite than particular person hair.

This makes a sheltie full-grown a lot simpler to groom and clear up after than many smooth-haired dogs, which departs free fur of their area.

Merle Shetland Sheepdog Temperament

Other than their measurement distinction, Shelties and Tough Collies look very a lot alike.

Shelties have an excessive degree of intelligence.

In response to Dr. Stanley Coren, knowledgeable on animal intelligence, the Shetland sheepdog is without doubt one of the brightest canine, rating sixth out of 138 breeds examined.

His analysis discovered that a mean Sheltie might perceive a brand new command in fewer than 5 repetitions and would obey a command the primary time it was given 95% of the time or higher.

Merle Shetland Sheepdog Health

Bi-black Sheltie clearing an agility bounce. Shetland Sheepdogs are full of life, nimble, and clever.

For probably the most half, Shelties are athletic and wholesome. Just like the Tough Collie, there’s a tendency towards inherited malformation and illness of the eyes.

Every particular sheltie full-grown pet ought to have his/her eyes examined by a certified veterinary ophthalmologist.

Some strains could also be vulnerable to hypothyroidism, epilepsy, hip dysplasia, or pores and skin allergy symptoms.

Shetland Sheepdogs have 4 occasions the danger of different canine of growing transitional cell carcinoma, most cancers of the bladder.

Dermatomyositis could happen at the age of four to six months and is steadily misdiagnosed by normally observe veterinarians as sarcoptic or demodectic mange.

The illness manifests itself as alopecia on the highest of the top, supra- and suborbital space and forearms in addition to the tip of the tail.

If the illness progresses to its extra damaging type, it might have an effect on the autonomic nervous system and the canine could be euthanized.

This illness is genetically transmitted and recessive, with breeders having no clear methodology for screening besides clear bloodline information.

Deep tissue biopsies are required to definitively diagnose dermatomyositis.

Lay evaluation of end-stage dermatomyositis is noticed issue or incapacity to swallow, even water.

Von Willebrand’s illness is an inherited bleeding dysfunction. In Shelties, affected canine as a normal rule should not viable and don’t dwell lengthy.

The Sheltie carries sort III of von Willebrands, which is probably the most extreme of the three ranges.

There are DNA assessments that had been developed to seek out von Willebrands in Shelties.

It may be executed at any age, and it’ll give three outcomes: affected, provider, or non-affected. Shelties can also endure from hypothyroidism, which is the under-functioning thyroid gland.

It’s an autoimmune illness the place the immune system assaults the thyroid gland. Scientific signs embrace hair loss or lack of coat, over- or under-weight, and listlessness.

Though small breed canine doesn’t often endure unduly from hip dysplasia, it has been recognized in Shelties.

Hip dysplasia happens when the top of the femur and the acetabulum don’t match collectively appropriately, steadily inflicting ache or lameness.

Hip dysplasia is considered genetic. Many breeders could have their canine’ hips x-rayed and licensed by the Orthopedic Basis for Animals.


Understanding the Gene

Shelties are available numerous colors: brown and white sables, black, white and tan tri-colors, black and white bi-blacks, blue merle gray, black white and tan, and a number of other combos of these colors. Sheltie pet colors are dictated by their mother and father as you’d count on from baby sheltie.

Nevertheless, it’s attainable for one or each mother and father to have recessive color genes that won’t present within the shaved sheltie’s coat.

A sable sire or dam can carry the merle gene without having the color.

If bred to a different sheltie with the merle gene, it is going to produce double merle puppies.

Double merles are topic to genetic problems affecting imaginative and prescient and listening to.

Making Blue Merles

Blue merle shelties are produced when one father or mother has the merle gene.

The blue merle color sample isn’t blue; the canine’s black pigment is diluted, making the hair seem silver or gray.

The darker color often seems like mottled spots on the canine’s coat based on sheltie breed.

A blue merle sheltie could have some tan factors within the coat. A black, white, and gray merle sheltie with no tan coloring is named a bi-blue.

These colors are produced by breeding one tri-color or bi-black canine with the merle gene to a different one without it.

Double Merle Issues

Geneticist Lee Anne Clark says merle-to-merle breedings could also be troublesome to detect, however health points of their puppies are often the consequence from baby sheltie.

Breeding two merles creates a pigment dysfunction, explains Clark, which impacts the color and form of eye improvement and inside ear nerve endings.

These two points trigger gentle blue eyes and imaginative and prescient issues for the offspring of those breedings that may end up in blindness and, typically, deafness or listening to issues.

On the onset, you could discover {that a} rising pet or grownup canine bumps into issues or is not capable of deal with you visually a shaved sheltie.

Your canine could not seem to listen to you while you name him, or he will not startle at noises similar to hand clapping.

Figuring out the Gene

If a breeder is unaware of the merle gene in a canine getting used for breeding and that canine is bred to a different merle, it is a recipe for creating health issues.

It is unimaginable to evaluate the canine’s genetic background simply from the coat color and sheltie breed.

The breeder should know the pedigree to pay attention to the existence of merles within the canine’s lineage, or the pair have to be examined for DNA to find out whether or not the merle gene is current.

The one approach to determine the merle gene is thru the shaved sheltie’s pedigree or DNA testing.

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